Nick Snow has made his presence felt in Aiken the past few years both as a polo player and as an umpire. However, his contributions haven’t gone unnoticed, and for the second year the member of Team USPA is a finalist for the Equus & Co. Award. Snow, Stephanie Massey and Tiamo Hudspeth are the finalists for the award that is presented to the player that best exemplifies the principles of the Team USPA program. The winner will receive $10,000 and a belt buckle designed by Jim Whisenand, the Equus & Co. chairman and CEO. The award will be presented today at International Polo Club Palm Beach.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” said Snow, in a phone interview Saturday afternoon. “A lot of the kids give back to the program. It’s nice to be recognized for your efforts.”

The 27-year-old Snow, a member of Team USPA since 2010, has benefited from the program that helps to identify young U.S. talent, and provides mentoring and training opportunities for those members who are part of the Team USPA Program. However, Snow is doing his part to give back as he too is now serving as a mentor for some of the younger players in the program. Snow played a role in organizing last year’s junior polo training series in Aiken.

A number of the mentors involved with the Team USPA program are among the most recognizable names in U.S. polo including several Aiken residents, Hall-of-Famer Owen Rinehart; former 10-goaler Adam Snow; Julio Arellano, the highest rated U.S. player at 9-goals, and home grown Tiger Kneece and Tommy Biddle, Jr.

“The little tips, the time they’ve taken to work with us and their consideration, have had a big impact on me,” said Snow.

The mentor program has been very helpful to many of the members involved with the Team USPA program, said Snow. The members of Team USPA benefit greatly from the knowledge being shared by the high goal veteran players, but the Team USPA members, much like Snow, who’ve been involved with the program are able to relate closely to those members who have recently been selected.

“We’re able to talk about stuff that’s more relevant,” said Snow. “We’re going through the same struggles. I feel it’s my responsibility to give something back. I have a long way to go. I’m still a beginner myself. It allows us to share our experiences. I’ve made a number of mistakes. You learn things about yourself.”

The new members are extremely inquisitive, and their thirst for knowledge is evident by the high volume of questions they have, said Snow.

“They ask you, ‘Why you’re doing this. or why you’re doing that,’ and it gets you thinking, and you have to re-evaluate your own methods,” said Snow.

This winter, Snow is working for Aiken resident Julio Arellano, who is playing for Coca-Cola in the 26 and 20-goal tournaments at International Polo Club. He’s also mentoring Arellano’s sons Agustin and Lucas.

“He’s (Julio Arellano) an extremely accomplished player,” said Snow. “He has a lot of horses to ride and play. I’m riding the younger horses, and the horses he’s not playing in the high goal.”